One of the leading causes of the District’s obesity epidemic is a lack of access to healthy food. Many of our poorest neighborhoods are located in “food deserts.” With few places to purchase fresh produce and unprocessed foods, low-income families are often unable to eat healthy foods. The lack of grocery stores also results in more than $100 million annually in lost revenue – and the hundreds of jobs that are supported by it. Few of the corner stores in low-income neighborhoods sell fresh produce or healthy food. By following successful models in Pennsylvania, New York City, and other jurisdictions, we can establish a program using existing District resources that will expand access to healthy food in low-income communities, create jobs, and improve the environment.
The FEED DC Act has three goals: (1) to improve access to healthy foods in low-income neighborhoods; (2) to encourage green technology in food stores; and (3) to create good jobs in areas with very high levels of unemployment.
The FEED DC Act is modeled on the successfully Pennsylvania and New York City initiatives. It will create a public/private partnership to attract and renovate grocery stores in the District’s food deserts. It will designate a “grocery ambassador” in the Deputy Mayor’s office to help grocers navigate through the bureaucratic hurdles of opening new stores. The bill will help existing corner stores sell fresh produce and healthy foods. It will further establish environmental incentives to assist food retailers in lowering their operating costs.
In essence, the FEED DC Act will:
Feed DC by helping low-income families to obtain healthy food;
Feed DC by supporting a healthy, clean environment; and
Feed DC by creating jobs and putting residents to work.
- July 13, 2010 -- Introduction of the FEED DC Act
- September 23, 2010 -- Working Group Meeting
- September 30, 2010 -- Working Group Meeting
- October 7, 2010 -- Working Group Meeting
- October 14, 2010 -- Working Group Meeting
- October 18, 2010 -- Public Hearing (View Hearing Testimony and Public Record)
- October 28, 2010 -- Working Group Meeting
- November 2010 -- Committee Markups
- December 2010 -- Consideration and Vote by the Council